AI won’t replace artists

Mika Aldaba
3 min readMar 20, 2023

Last January, I went to Oslo and visited the Munch museum. I was deeply touched by the experience and thought it was profound. Visiting exhibits is almost like my religion. It occurred to me that none of the AI art I have seen so far have gotten me to feel anything.

I could tell AI to generate me paintings that replicate Munch. But an AI could never have come up with his original style. It is early days right now, but what exists at the moment is derivative.

Death and the Child

Edvard Munch had a depressing story. I felt for him, reading through the museum text. His parents, brother and sister died while he was young. You can feel a certain heaviness while walking around this section of the exhibit. For him, when there is passion there is pain and when there is desire, there is loss.

“Melancholy.” Munch saw life as something we have to go through with both love and pain.

Until an AI could experience the depths of sadness that artists go through, I don’t think an AI could make The Scream without human intervention. Photography did not replace art. It merely became another art form. The same will happen with AI.

Niranjan Krishna put it nicely in his article here: Creativity comes from action that exists solely by the nature of it’s own virtue. It isn’t a reaction based on circumstances external to it. Instead, it moves forwards for it’s own sake. A self-rolling wheel, to borrow Nietzsche’s words. As AI is reactionary, as of now and probably will be forever, it can’t be creative. Therefore, there is no possibility of it creating art.

“Despair.” Munch’s work is an exercise in loneliness.

As an optimist and supporter of new technologies, I naturally believe in the power of AI. But in the spirit of fairness, I also wanted to ask other artists what they thought of it. It has divided the community. People are worried about job security and income loss from copyright infringement. But AI still needs data to train on, artists just need to make sure their work is protected before legal frameworks for AI are finalized.

The Future is Present exhibit at the Design Museum in Copenhagen

I draw and paint because I find the act enjoyable. Even with AI that could do it faster than me, I would still do it. Not everything should be measured by efficiency. The same applies with art. The amount of time that something took to create doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is how it makes you feel. Until AI can bleed, I’ll continue betting on human artists.

On the reading list: The Stupidity of AI

--

--